RobPortman: the Political Class

I received a fundraising letter from Rob Portman the other day, and am ethically prohibited from sending him any money.  One reason is that, like the median family in America, my net worth has dropped significantly over the last ten years.  This covers the Obama administration and certainly the Bush administration.  A pox on BOTH houses.

Even if I had expendable cash though, would I get my money’s worth from Rob Portman?  Well the NRSC certainly hasn’t gotten any of my money.  I made THAT decision years ago when they backed future Democrats Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chaffee.  And then again the NRSC implicitly supported future Democrat Charlie Crist and Democrat favorite Mike Castle.  (While they may not have explicitly supported them, their contributors and their supporters certainly did.)  Later, Karl Rove said he was staying out of the Texas Senate runoff because there was no difference between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz.  So Dewhurst would have keynoted CPAC?

Lastly, and directly involving Rob Portman, is the support for Thad Cochran in Mississippi.  There is no reason that an honest Republican should support the less articulate conservative, the less energetic conservative, or the less mainstream conservative.  The only thing that Thad Cochran has in his favor is his connection to Washington DC.  For Rob Portman, this is all that counts.

The political class in Washington knows nothing about party – Democrats and Republicans are equally welcome.  They have the singular interest of self-preservation and they have the wherewithal to do it.  While median incomes of all US families has gone down, the incomes of Fairfax, Howard, and Loudon Counties have all gone up.  In fact, the median income in those counties is nearly DOUBLE that of the US median income!  So while Portman and Republicans and Democrats campaign for the middle class, it is simply an Alinsky tactic.  The political class is taking money from those of us trying to get ahead, and keeping it themselves.

For twenty years Rob Portman has been campaigning for fiscal sanity and for pro-growth policies.  Well if he is in fact trying to promote those things then he’s not doing a good job at it!  For over twenty years in the House, in the Bush administration, and now in the Senate, Portman has passed on opportunities to help the middle class IN FAVOR of helping the political class.  One of the principle checks that the legislative has over the executive is the expenditure of funds, and time and again Rob Portman sides with Chuck Schumer over Mike Lee.  That is not a role that an honest Republican should take.

Portman must keep the funds of the government flowing because the government is his priority.  His resume stinks of the establishment.  He is gaining a higher profile as this year has gone on, and with the GOP Convention coming to Ohio there is chatter as to whether he should run.  My mind is open and I might certainly think about supporting him over Hillary or Warren, but I promise you that he is Lucy with the football.  He is all talk.  He has talked for all of his twenty years in Washington, and the fiscal mess that he derides has only gotten worse.  He has neither the courage nor the capabilities, and most importantly he lacks the will to change course.

Senator Rob Portman and the Mike Lee Problem

What do you call a person who pays for something he is dead set against?  Senator!

And so it is with the GOP establishment.  The House has voted to repeal Obamacare almost 40 times, which we all understand to be a fool’s errand.  Where the real damage can and SHOULD be done is with the budget process.  The Congress, if it still has power, controls the money in Washington DC.  The weak-kneed Republican leadership has never drawn a battle line from which they wouldn’t retreat.  Continuing resolutions have given the federal government uncontrolled access to whatever money they ask for, and they’ve spent it on dance lessons, conventions, and daily air travel.  Forgive us GOP if we don’t say thank you.

Sen. Mike Lee has a letter that says he will continue to fund all the stupid portions of the federal government, but he won’t fund Obamacare.  Sounds overly-generous to me, but it is the last line in the sand we can draw when it comes to Obamacare.  Next year, everybody will need to look at exchanges, private insurance at whatever cost they offer, or pay a fine by April 2015.  And what comes after 2015?  The campaigns and elections of 2016, which includes Senator Rob Portman.

Our Republican Governor John Kasich has tried to get Ohio to partake in Obamacare’s Medicaid buy-in program and this has infuriated Ohio’s Tea Parties.  It is likely that they will challenge him in a primary or (worse) run a conservative third-party candidate.  There simply aren’t enough conservatives in Ohio that can survive two candidates on the right and we’ll be setting the carpet for Democrat Ed Fitzgerald.  Kasich’s poll numbers are up right now, but I forsee some problems in the months to come.

But Kasich’s problems won’t come close to Portman’s if he continues to support the funding of Obamacare.  The farm bill, internet sales tax, and his dance around the amnesty issue have made Portman a player for the establishment when we need people on the opposition.  Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul are showing people how it’s done.  If Rob Portman isn’t being helpful, then he’s likely to be shown the door in 2016.

Ohio Senator Letters on Immigration

I’ve been quite busy, but I felt a need to write my Senators about the Immigration bill.  I have the conservative Rob Portman with a tendency to use bi-partisan-speak, and the liberal Sherrod Brown with a tendency to use Marx-speak.  Here are the letters I quickly wrote over lunch.

Portman:

Please do not support the current immigration bill to be due for a vote this week.  I do not spend my time writing Congress, but I need to take time out of this day to do so.

The Democrat line is that conservatives and Republicans are inconsiderate of the real lives of illegal immigrants.  There seems to be a beltway line that Republicans need to “do something” to gain support of Latinos.  Both of these forces are pushing the wobbly GOP to support a bad bill.

As a person who considers himself more Tea Party than Republican, I promise you that there is a lot more compassion on our side for illegal immigrants than on the other.  The irlanguage seems to suggest that we need illegals to be codified as a second class citizen.  These immigrants will get perks for their labor (no Obamacare, preferred hiring), but there is nobody advocating to them for anything resembling liberty.

If you want to see how compassionate we can be with illegal immigrants, then just pass one bill.  BUILD A FENCE, SECURE THE BORDER.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad that I need to remind you “The first priority of our immigration policy must be to enforce our immigration laws at the border and in the interior. ”  Of course Rubio, Flake, and even McCain made similar statements while campaigning only to flip after getting elected.  I don’t expect that from you.

You should be out in the open opposing this Immigration bill.  So should McConnell for that matter – I’m not sure what you guys are thinking.  Please listen to the voters and not K Street political consultants.

Brown:

Please vote against the Immigration bill that is due for a vote this week.  You did a good thing by opposing the previous bill a number of years ago because it would hurt the American worker.  I promise you that this will do the same.  It seems that the unions who are for this bill are doing so for political reasons, and sacrificing the short-term hurt for the long-term gain.

These individuals who will get provisional status will also get perks that appeal to business owners.  There will be an incentive to hire people that come with legal waivers and exceptions over native-born Americans who have no such luxury.   Additionally, I’m confused as to the criminal record exceptions where certain crimes are waived for provisional citizens.  This is another unfair segregation of native-born Americans.

If equality of opportunity means anything in this country, it is that people are not given special treatment for reasons that have nothing to do with the individual.  I expect to be treated in a way because of who I am and what I’ve done, and NOT because I fall into this class or that category.  Being a part of the “crony” class is all well and good as long as everything is going our way, but not when we are suddenly on the outside at the back of the line. 

The only solution is to reject special treatment for groups of people, in this case the non-citizen worker.  Let them go through the normal immigration process, and work to fix the process while you’re at it.

So, back to me now, I took a harsher tone with Portman because we don’t know for sure where he will land.  Ohio had Voinovich and DeWine for a number of years, two Republicans with 70% conservative ratings landing them in the middle-left of the caucus.  Portman has a reputation of being more conservative that those two, and apparently we need to keep reminding him of that.

Brown is a liberal, but he also voted against the Kennedy immigration bill because it hurt the worker.  Every once in a while, Brown, Sanders, and Kucinich might take the right position but for the wrong reason.  Nonetheless, the bill is unfair to Americans… or native-born citizens.

Next stop, the House.  We can’t trust Boehner to keep a bad bill from passing so it’s best to pass no bill whatsoever.

Without The Rand Paul Moment…

I was pretty excited with the Rand Paul 13-hour filibuster, and I was not alone.  #StandWithRand was a trending twitter topic through the whole day and the day after.  It was the first time in a long time that an elected member of the GOP went on offense.  Boehner and the Republican House continue to warble, “We’re waiting for the President to lead.”  Obama IS leading the GOP House – like the Pied Piper leads his mice!

Most confusing are the wet-blanket conservatives like Michael Medved and others who say things like “it didn’t change anything” or “he should have filibustered Hagel” or “he should have filibustered the next day also.”  If Paul didn’t filibuster on Wednesday, then the primetime news would have been the Obama dinner with the 12 Republican Senators.  What did they say?  Is this the new tone?  Is Obama moderating?  Are the Republican Senators going to trump the tea-bagging teenagers in the House?  And what did they eat?

The next day, McCain and Graham would have taken to the Senate floor saying how reasonable the President is and that this is the time to put partisanship aside and work together for America.  The Senate doesn’t need all of the GOP on board, just a few key folks and some of their finger-in-the-air followers to compromise on sequester, continuing resolution, or whatever budget issue.  Who knows, Rubio might have even gotten McCain’s back on this one.

This would have put Boehner on the defensive and we all know how that story ends.  “To hell with Amash!  To hell with Chavez and Goehmert!”  He might be reluctant, but eventually Boehner would cave.  Obama would get a budget he can be proud of… for a day.

Then what about these GOP governors who are still declining the Obamacare Medicaid expansion?  Kasich, Scott, McConnell are all helping the poor unfortunates in their states.  Why not the rest?  This is a CRISIS must be resolved now before Republicans cause the deaths of thousands!  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Rand Paul took the air out of that Obama dinner for this week.  But what about next week?  It takes continuous work and effort to stop the Alinsky method.  Paul showed us how to do it, now can others join in to turn around this progressive ship?

Senate Tea Party Beats Establishment: #CrushRove

I don’t think we should mind internal discussions or even fights when finding Republican standard-bearers on any level, as long as we all come together afterwards.  Karl Rove recently created an American Crossroads subgroup to support more electable candidates, implicitly suggesting that Tea Party candidates like Akin and Mourdock (it’s always those two, isn’t it?) were doomed from the start.  After the Tea Party uproar, Rove has been appearing on Fox saying he gave personal money to Rubio, $x million to such and such, millions to this other one, and so on.

Rove may be able to personally say whatever, but he has become the face and voice of the establishment.  And it’s difficult and time-consuming for a generic interested member of the public like myself to follow the money.  Who is giving money to Rove?  Who have THEY personally given to in the past?  Rove has said he didn’t have an interest in the Texas Senate primary because “it didn’t matter who won” (which is dead wrong, by the way), but I’ve heard that a bunch of Crossroads donors supported Dewhurst over Cruz.   Let’s take a look at a wider list of Senate races in 2010 and 2012 and see if we can put things in context.  This is going to be a long post – but at least it’ll get this information out of my head and onto paper.

** 2010 was the first year of tea party challenges, and the standard GOP candidates were not prepared for what was to follow.

  • Alaska: Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski in the primary.  Karl Rove said that Murkowski was going to lose her write-in campaign, but she surprised many people by winning this three-way race.  Miller is no fan of the establishment, nor they of him, and he has recently written about Rove’s War on the Tea Party.
  • Arizona: J.D. Hayworth took the Tea Party mantle to challenge John McCain.  Rove sang about McCain’s tough stance on the border and spending in predicting his victory, and McCain won handily.
  • California: Chuck DeVore was the Tea Party favorite, but many in GOP including Sarah Palin backed Carly Fiorina.  She went on to lose to Barbara Boxer.
  • Colorado: Ken Buck surprised many by defeating GOP favorite Jane Norton.  He barely lost the general election to Michael Bennett.
  • Connecticut: Linda McMahon ran as an outsider which made her more “tea party” than Rep. Rob Simmons.  She won the primary, but lost the election.
  • Delaware: Christine O’Donnell beat out long-time Representative and establishment favorite Mike Castle.  When Castle lost the race, he would not endorse O’Donnell and Rove routinely dismissed her and her candidacy.  She went on to lose in the blue state of Delaware.
  • Florida: Another successful Tea Party challenge to an establishment candidate who would not back the GOP primary victor.  This time, though, Marco Rubio beat the Democrat and also former GOP Charlie Crist in the general election.
  • Kentucky: Rand Paul ran as an outsider much like his father, Ron Paul, and he defeated McConnell’s pick of Trey Grayson.  He then went on to win the seat pretty comfortably.
  • Missouri:  Roy Blunt was definitely the Washington insider in this race, and the Tea Party complained loudly yet could not mount any type of primary challenge.  Blunt won the primary and also the general.
  • Nevada: The Tea Party had another primary victory with Sharron Angle beating GOP chair Sue Lowden.  She later lost to Harry Ried in the general in a race that was not as close as the polls had suggested.
  • Pennsylvania: The Tea Party candidate Pat Toomey, who barely lost to Arlen Specter six years earlier, succeeded in chasing him from the GOP in 2010.  Specter lost the Democrat primary and Toomey won the general election.
  • Utah: Who can forget this solid red state with a establishment incumbent who had a questionable record.  Mike Lee beat Robert Bennet in the “primary” and coasted to a general election victory.  (Actually I forgot this in the initial post and added this state AND Wisconsin the next day.)
  • Wisconsin:  Ron Johnson is associated with the Tea Party and faced no serious opposition in the primary.  He was the brave soul who took on Democrat incumbent Russ Fiengold and won!

So in these 13 races with an establishment vs. tea party element, the tea party won ten and the establishment three.  Two of the three establishment candidates won, McCain and Blunt, while Fiorina lost in the tough state of California.  Additionally, a third establishment candidate victory came when Murkowski won her write-in campaign.

Of the ten Tea Party candidates, five won: Paul in Kentucky and Lee in Utah, and then Toomey, Rubio, and Johnson in the blue states of Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin.  The Democrat wins were in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and Nevada.  The fifth Tea Party candidate to lose was Joe Miller in Alaska.

Parsing this 2010 election as blue state versus red state, I count eight blue states and five red.  Of the red states, Republicans won all five with three establishment candiates (Murkowski as write-in, McCain, and Blunt) and two tea party (Rand Paul and Mike Lee).  Of the blue states, the establishment lost California, tea party candidates lost Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and Nevada.  But, and this is important, the tea party won in the big blue states of Pennsylvania, Florida, and Wisconsin.

** 2012 showed that the GOP was more prepared in fending off challengers from the very beginning, but it was also a presidential election and many tea party folks may have been busy looking for the non-Romney and may not have adequately prepared for the Senate elections.  In choosing these races, I’ll move beyond those with solidly defined “Tea Party” challengers and also includes races that were close or competitive.

  • Arizona:  Tea Party Jeff Flake easily won a GOP primary and then squeaked by the general election.
  • Connecticut: Linda McMahon again was not exactly Tea Party, but her GOP opponent was definitely establishment.  She won the primary, but lost the general.
  • Florida: Rep. Connie Mack IV seemed to have good conservative credentials although he is also establishment in that his father is a former Senator.  He lost in the general election to incumbent Bill Nelson.
  • Indiana: Richard Mourdock was endorsed by many Tea Party-types, and Richard Lugar did not react well to losing the primary.  His supporters were enthusiatically passive about Mourdock and the Democrat ran a very conservative campaign.  This was a seat that the GOP should have held, but it was not.
  • Massachusetts: Scott Brown stunned the nation when he won the seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy.  In this election, he faced progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren in the general election and lost.  Like McMahon, he may not be Tea Party in policy but he also is not establishment.
  • Michigan: Again like Connie Mack, Pete Hoekstra is conservative and was endorsed by Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, but he also was a long-time congressman.  In the GOP primary, challenger Clark Durant seems to have views that are very consistent with the Tea Party but he finished with under 35% of the vote.  Hoekstra lost to incumbent Debbie Stabenow.
  • Missouri:  Not to go through this again, but Todd Akin barely won a three-way contest against two superior candidates.  Claire McCaskill was the most vulnerable Democrat incumbent, but Akin was the GOP’s most vulnerable challenger.
  • Montana:  John Tester may have been the second-most vulnerable candidate, and his race was much closer.  The GOP picked Denny Rehberg who as a 20-year politician was definitely establishment.  He lost to Tester by four points while the Libertarian candidate garnered over six percent of the vote.
  • Nebraska: Deb Fischer went from third place to first place in the GOP primary.  Her opponents were Jon Bruning, considered to be establishment, and Don Stenberg.  Stenberg was endorsed by FreedomWorks, but he was also had lost two previous attempts at a Senate seat.  Fischer got an important endorsement from Sarah Palin and went on to win the primary, and then the general.
  • Nevada:  Incumbent Republican Dean Heller won the Senate outright after being appointed to the seat vacated by John Ensign.  There was no serious challenge in the primary, and he squeaked by with a 46-45 win in the general.
  • New Mexico: Five-term congresswoman Heather Wilson was challenged by a Tea Party candidate who had trouble gaining traction.  Wilson won the nomination handily, but lost the open seat.
  • North Dakota:  In an open seat that was listed as a strong Republican pickup at the beginning of 2012, Rick Berg lost the race by less than 3000 votes.  Berg was challenged in the primary by an “Americans for Prosperity” candidate.
  • Ohio:  John Mandel is a young Generation X candidate who has feet in both camps.  He was an early pick of Jim DeMint’s Victory Fund, and he also received endorsements and support from the GOP establishment.  He lost Ohio by six points.
  • Pennsylvania: Tom Smith was a Democrat for many years, but so was Ronald Reagan and so was I.  One of his GOP challengers, though, was Sam Rohrer who was endorsed by the Tea Party.  Smith ran against incumbent Bob Casey and lost.
  • Texas:  In a classic tea party vs. establishment race, Ted Cruz forced Lt. Governor David Dewhurst into a runoff when Dewhurst only received 44% of the vote in the GOP primary.  Cruz was second with 34%, but he handily won the runoff a few weeks later and then also won the general.
  • Virginia: George Allen has a long political history in Virginia, including the unfortunate “makaka” incident that cost him his Senate re-election six years earlier.  In the primary, he was challenged by a conservative activist, but Allen went on to win easily.  In the general, incumbent Tim Kaine beat Allen by six points.
  • Wisconsin:  In another classic tea party vs. establishment race, we can only wish that this one ended up in a runoff.  Instead, long-time establishment Tommy Thomson won a four-way race that included one candidate endorsed by the Club for Growth, and another candidate endorsed by FreedomWorks.  With 34% of the Republican primary vote, he went on to face Tammy Baldwin in the general election and who won the race by five.

Phew!  So a longer list, and there were a few candidates that are difficult to categorize as either tea party or establishment.  Regardless, the GOP lost a tremendous opportunity to pick up seats.  I listed here 17 of the 33 races up for contention, of which we only won four!  Of these 17, I have five who I couldn’t classify as either tea party or establishment.  I simply don’t know enough of their politics or maybe they were a little of both.  I have in this unknown category: Linda McMahon, Scott Brown, Pete Hoekstra, Todd Akin, and Tom Smith.  I have five Tea Party candidates: Jeff Flake, Richard Mourdock, Deb Fischer, Josh Mandel, and Ted Cruz.  Establishment candidates make up the remaining seven: Mack, Rehberg, Heller, Wilson, Berg, Allen, and Thompson.

So the verdict?  Well the unknowns didn’t win any seat, so that takes care of that.  Of the establishment candidates, ONLY ONE of the seven won and that was incumbent Dean Heller of Nevada.  Of the Tea Party, THREE of five won their races (Flake, Fischer, and Cruz)!  Well the Tea Party seems to be the clear victor in this categorization, even if you want to throw some of those unknowns into the tea party.

Let’s look at the blue state vs. red state results.  And as much as it hurts, I’ve got to put states like Virginia, Florida, and Ohio in the blue state category.  So of the 17 states listed, 10 are blue states and 7 are red.  Of the blue states, again only Dean Heller won.  The blue states ran five establishment candidates (Mack, Heller, Wilson, Allen, and Thompson), four unknowns (McMahon, Brown, Hoekstra, and Smith) and then tea party John Mandel.  So two years earlier, there were distinctly Tea Party candidates in the blue or swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania who won their race.  Two years later with more opportunities, there is only Josh Mandel.

The seven red states had THREE victories – and yes, the same three Tea Party folks listed above (Flake, Fischer, and Cruz)!   The remaining four red states that lost Senate bids had two establishment candidates (Rehberg and Berg), one unknown (Akin) and one Tea Party (Mourdock).  So as Mitt Romney was winning Montana and North Dakota, the GOP establishment was not successful in gaining a seat from Democrat hands.  And then there’s Akin and Mourdock… it’s always those two, isn’t it?

** So the sum total of both 2010 and 2012 elections: establishment won four of eleven races and tea party won eight of fifteen.  Tea Party by a nice margin!  Looking at blue states, the establishment has a record of 1-5, and tea party has a record of 3-5.  Four unknowns were in blue states, so you can categorize them as you wish and the Tea Party will still have a better record.  For the red states, establishment candidates are 3-2 and tea party folks are 5-2.  BaZinga!  Based on this compilation, the bold colors of the Tea Party has a stronger record than the pastel establishment in both red and blue states.

This brings us to today.  Barely a month into the 113th Congress, we are apparently itching to fight for the composition of the 114th.  The next election will see “Obama coat-tail” Senate candidates that include 21 Democrats.  Can we pick off some of those incumbents and gain seats this time?  I count seven Romney states that have Senate seats held by Democrats (AK, AR, LA, MT, NC, SD, WV).  Democrats can only count Maine’s Susan Collins as a potential pickoff.  I also see six swing states that Obama carried that have Senate elections (CO, IA, MI, MN, NH, NM).

How about some red state rable-rousing? Well Georgia is going to be an open seat where the Republican, no matter who it is, will be the favorite. The Democrats may run a strong candidate so this is not an “in-the-bag” seat, but it is a tea party opportunity. Lindsey Graham? Well Tim Scott will also be running for the full term of his seat so Tea Party energy might go in that direction. Lamar Alexander and John Cornyn? Mitch McConnell? Oy vey! There are babies in bathwater, so we better be careful.

I’m still not over the November loss to Barack Obama.  What good are the Rush Limbaughs and Mark Levins and the Tea Party if we end up with a 2012 result?  The conservative turnout wasn’t there, either because they stayed home or because they don’t exist.  And I’m afraid that they may not exist – that elections will continue to be won by the votes of people who accept government as the answer to life’s ills.  Conservatives may simply be outnumbered.

Despite the CurrentTV propaganda that the Tea Party is the financial domain of the Koch brothers, I see the Tea Party as the true grassroots who can win despite being outspent in television advertising.  Karl Rove still thinks money equals support or the difference between winning and losing.  One thing is sure – the GOP disunity that results from this chasm benefits the Democrats.  Unity will equal victory.

Jim DeMint Moves Onward and Upward

I shared the reaction of all conservatives when I heard that Jim DeMint was going to resign from the Senate – I was shocked and discouraged that one of our own was leaving a position of power.  Maybe he was discouraged as well and was going to leave public life and live in the mountains.  Maybe he was being chased out or chastised into thinking that his brand of Republicanism was no longer welcome.

This feeling lasted about ten minutes.  I thought about the “power” a Senator really has versus the influence of a group like the Heritage Foundation.  A think tank like Heritage has the sole power of communicating information and persuading people to their side of an argument.  Conservatives certainly need help in persuading voters, and I think that’s exactly his plan after listening to DeMint and current president Edwin Feulner on various talk shows.

Neither of them seem to want elections to simply be “turnout” elections.  Looking back at Reagan (as we often do), we see that 1980 was not a turnout election.  Sure the media and social culture as it was back then had favored Carter and the Democrats in general, but the Reagan landslide was a result of winning the argument of ideas.  Those people who came out to vote simply decided that Reagan was a better choice than Carter.  Reagan was able to turn Democrat voters into Reagan voters.

For the next few election cycles the Democrats needed to work to change people’s minds back to voting Democrat.  Clinton was able to change people’s minds in 1992 as he was running as a more conservative New Democrat, although it is difficult to get an accurate reading of its influence because of the additional effect of Ross Perot.  The Bush-Gore race was so close, I’m not sure we can say if there was more choice that caused the Bush win or if it was turnout.  Beginning in 2004, however, I think the Bush and Kerry camps were much more motivated by the turnout of their voters than they were about changing minds.  The Obama victories have further proven that Republicans are not winning on ideas, and they seem to have big problems with turnout.

So Jim DeMint is going to Heritage to help design the conservative argument for America and its limited form of government.  In this role, I think he could have more power than he had as a Senator.  People like Jennifer Rubin and Dana Milbank are predictably blind to anything beyond their next bowel movement.  The Jim DeMint they know only exists as a Senator, as if nothing he has done before matters.   Like dismissing the fact that  “freshman” Allen West was a Lt. Col. in the Army, they ignore DeMint’s 15 years of running a market research company.

For them, it’s all politics.  Milbank, one of the many progressives in Washington media, can only see conservative arguments as simple-minded and hackneyed phrases from generations gone by.  Rubin, the progressive on the right for the Washington Post, only values a Senator for what laws he has passed.  Well to any extent that Jim DeMint has stopped destructive and inane legislation from either side has been a victory for conservatives.

And as many have pointed out, DeMint can take deserved credit in getting Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio into the Senate.  Many of us saw the necessity of DeMint-style conservatism when we saw the establishment get behind Arlen Specter in 2004 and only a brave few souls supporting Pat Toomey.  Toomey lost that race, but won six years later.  And if DeMint is replaced by somebody like Tim Scott, then the Senate is ideologically unchanged.

All forward momentum that I felt during these last four years have been negated by the totality of 2012 election: the presidency, the two seat loss in the Senate, and the eight seat loss in the House.  The GOP lost and we need to regroup.  I’m sure that DeMint will continue to be a stong voice for conservatism and we can start winning arguments again.

Republican Rebranding: The Original Abolitionists

I’ve been playing with this idea for about a year, and after the recent election loss and the opening of the movie “Lincoln,” I think it’s time to flesh it out.  We are all looking for the next Reagan who talked about the three legs of the conservative footstool: economic, military, and social conservatives.  We also appreciate the idea that people who agree with us 80% of the time can be considered allies.  But I don’t think that even the best of the Reagan legend can repair some of the current Republican rifts.

A definite split has been seen between the GOP establishment of Karl Rove and Tea Party voices like Mark Levin.  Another split can be found between those economic conservatives who want to simply dismiss social concerns (Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush) and those social conservatives who insist that issues of family and morality are foundational to conservatism (Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee).  And as people look ahead at the Senate races in 2014, those tired of the status quo are itching for primary fights with Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham.  Can’t we all get along?  Isn’t there an issue that can unify the party?

I think there is – the original issue of abolition.  Democrats feel that it is their right to command other people for their own self-interest.  They feel that the principles of the Declaration of Independence simply do not apply to everybody.  They have an instinctive distrust of the success of others.  Am I talking about the Democrat Party of the 19th century or the 21st century?  Exactly.

We should all get a copy of “Runaway Slave” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2205591/) and preach its message.   The dependent class are modern slaves with the government making them dance through hoops and doing everything it can to keep them answerable to the bureaucracy.  It puts a ceiling on their success prventing them from ever reaching their potential.  The conservatism that I know is about respect for the individual.  A limited government is set up to protect individual rights.  Government does NOT ensure equality of outcomes through redistribution.  These are things that ALL GOP members should agree to.

“Runaway Slave” is not for the GOP establishment as they bear some responsibility for the current state of urban affairs, and they should either acknowledge that or just move on.  And they may complain because going into the cities violates everything the establishment knows about getting out the base.  Well George W. Bush never got the base support that Barack Obama has received in either percentages or raw numbers, and there were complaints from the base about both John McCain and Mitt Romney.  I don’t want a Republican to win by only a couple of points, I want an Obama-2008-type win.  By leaving and then ignoring the cities, Republicans have allowed Democrats to groom generations of voters that have no trust whatsoever of the GOP.

I don’t know what this means for Tea Party targets in 2014, but this should be a unifying argument.  We cannot continue to allow a perpetual lower class and allow the modern equivalent of “appeasing the South.”  We need to compete for those unanimous Philadelphia and Cleveland districts.  Instead of rolling our eyes or shaking our heads at the cities, we need to work to change them.  That would change everything.